Thursday June 08, 2006
On the way to Santa Fe
Wheels up at 6 am. Michael had a problem with his PPC and had to make an expedited landing two minutes after lift-off. After a few minutes he advised me to fly to Santa Fe (SAF) solo. I climbed to 7,800 msl, which allowed for the 500 foot increase in altitude of the Santa Fe airport, and would put me at 1,000 agl when I arrived.
As I flew out of the Albuquerque I was amazed at the volume of new housing developments. I will never understand why people live here. (A vacation house, sure, but year round?) The scenery is gorgeous, but the heat, sand storms, and general parched nature of the region just isn't my idea of paradise.
Because I didn't climb to 9,000 the tailwind which I could have caught at that altitude never materialized. Instead there was a headwind of between 5 and 10 mph. The flight up the valley was smooth, and the Rio Grande made portions of the valley quite lush. With the exception of the first day of the trip, when I took off from the Midway under a cloud ceiling, today was the first day that Ive flown with any clouds in the sky. Sort of an odd feeling. They were broken, and the shafts of sunlight streaming between them was quite ethereal.
Six miles from Santa Fe I contacted the tower and requested clearance to land on runway 10, as the active runway was 15, and I like to stay out of everyones way if possible. (Wind was 12 knots from 120.) The tower was a bit surprised to have a PPC arriving, but approved my request without hesitation. I was advised to re-contact the tower when at the 2 mile final.
Two miles out I was cleared for landing on 10, but about a half mile out I decided to nail the landing in the turn-around at the end of the runway, so as not to tie up the runway at all. I quickly contacted the tower and advised them that Id prefer to land in the turn-around, and received approval. A minute later the rear wheels kissed the tarmac 5 feet from dirt, and I collapsed the chute after a 50 yard roll-out. Quickly pulling in the steering lines to prevent re-inflation, I advised the tower the Voyager had landed, and the runway was clear for use. Packed the chute, an airport escort vehicle arrived, and I taxied Voyager down the runway to the ramp near the tower. All in all, a very pleasant morning.